Streams of Change – The Choice You Make - Purity 553
Purity 553 10/19/2021 Purity 553 Podcast
Today’s photo of a mountain stream and trees displaying the colors of Autumn comes to us from yours truly as I recently visited Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington NY to mark the season by taking an excursion with some of my future in laws to see the fall foliage.
I share today’s photo to highlight those changing colors in the leaves and to express the transitions of another season of life with the currents of that mountain stream. And just like how a mountain stream can have some parts that are peaceful and some parts that are tumultuous because of rapids, life and its changes can be gradual or jarring but the thing is that there is no part in which things aren’t moving.
If your life is anything like mine, the color of the leaves isn’t the only thing changing this Autumn. I have recently become engaged to be married and my fiancé and I have agreed on January 1st as our wedding date. So game on!
I have recently pondered one of the effects of the Fall of man and how one of the things that happened when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden was that suddenly the choices, for good and evil and otherwise, seemed to grow exponentially. After the fall Adam and Eve now knew “good and evil” so essentially they went from a simple existence where they could only make one “bad” choice to a whole knew ball game where “anything goes”.
In that post fall existence Cain learned that if someone upsets you, you can choose to reach out and kill someone. You can do that! However, just because mankind now “knew” about these new evil options for living doesn’t mean they “should” do that!
Even though man’s free will now included every conceivable choice on the good and evil spectrum with their newfound knowledge, God still wrote His law on our hearts, so our consciences not only told us that some of our new choices were possible, it told us they were “wrong”, “bad”, or “sinful”. Paradoxically, some of those sinful choices simultaneous would make us feel good in the flesh but still felt bad in our consciences.
So God designed us to go through life in the Post Eden existence with the knowledge and ability to choose how we would live. We have the choice to live according to His ways, which our consciences tell us are “good, right, and holy” but aren’t always easy, or according to our ways, which may “work” “or “feel good” but aren’t always “good, right, and holy.”
So as a Christian, we try to live according to God’s will even though it may not always be easy. While the world, would say there are all kinds of options regarding relationships. My fiancé and I have chosen to do things God’s way and get married. Well done right. Sure. Thanks. But today’s message is actually not about choosing good over evil. It’s about making the only choice: the one we make and have to live with.
Although I individually, and we as a couple, have chosen to walk out the rest of our lives living a discipled or surrendered Christian life, in considering the changing currents or season on my life, I am marveling over the aspect of time and choice and how it determines our path into the future.
Although we have “free will”, we are not free from the consequences of our choices. TammyLyn and I have decided to get married and in that decision our path is set.
MT’s solitary Christian existence and plans to live a quiet life of devout discipline in what he thought of as his “Monk house” “down by the river” is over. “Monk House” is gone. In fact, my house, or place, “Down by The River is gone! TammyLyn has called it “River House” and just like that, that is what it has become! River House! To be honest I sort of like it!
But this is just one example of how things can be instantly and forever changed in how we think about and how we refer to things when we make a decision that changes our relationship with them.
Of all the “right” and “wrong” choices in life that we have to choose from, they all have one thing in common: we will have to move forward in life based on the choices we make. We are subject to the consequences of what we pick. No matter how many options there are before us in life, we get to pick one option. No matter how many aspects of the various options available that we incorporate into our final decision, that is our “final answer”.
So as we have decided to come together as man and wife, what was uncertain and unclear is becoming more certain and clearer every day that we draw closer to our wedding day.
And the same goes for you, bud. You might not be getting married on January 1st but whatever your path and no matter how free you may think you are to do “whatever I want with my life”, the universe that God has created with time and space the way that it is only gives you one option for your life: what you pick, what you decide.
Now while most of our decisions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, there are some spiritual questions that need to be answered and the decisions on how you decided to live your life should be consistent with the answers you come up with.
Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living and I would agree but I would say that it is very important to examine our lives according to the intentions of the One who created all life: God.
In the Bible, eternal life is promised to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. Each of us can decide whether or not we will believe that. And no matter how many options you think there are regarding ultimate reality, the meaning of life, and truth, you will be subject to the choice you make when it comes to Christ.
God has revealed Himself though the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word of God tells us that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and eternal life.
I have experienced the manifest presence of God in my pursuits of the Christian faith and have had my life transformed by His presence in my life after accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Whatever decisions we make, lock us in to the consequences of those decisions. So, as a friend, I implore you to take time to consider Jesus and to make the decision to put your faith in Him.
We can examine our lives and we examine the world but to get true wisdom we have to seek the Lord. So ask Him for guidance. Ask Him to reveal Himself. The word says if you seek Him, you will find Him. So look for Him and if you find Him, follow in the way He leads you.
And if you already know Him, keep walking and talking with God and He will make all those decisions that will lead you into the future a little easier as His path is righteous and leads to your ultimate good.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Jeremiah 17:10 (NLT2)
10 But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Today’s verse points to realizing the consequences of our decisions.
Today’s verse tells us that God knows our hearts and motivations and that he will “reward” us according to what our actions deserve.
If you ever wanted a verse that could express the concept of “Karma”, here it is. But unlike other religions that speak of that concept of “what goes around comes around”, the Bible tells us that God determines “the rewards” of our actions. Karma and God’s will are almost synonymous but there is one big difference between the two: one concept acknowledges the existence of God and the other doesn’t.
To believe in Karma is to believe that there is no God, or that God is the universe, or that God is in everything; because if you believe in God, the concept of Karma – a cosmic system of cause and effect based on spiritual truth, would rightly be identified as God’s will.
But guess what? It’s time to destroy your concept of Karma as a system of rewards for actions done in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Karma is usually part of a theological system that believes in cyclic existence and multiple lives. The word of God says we have one life to live and then the judgement. So right there you should reject the “karmic” systems of belief that say we live more than once as antichrist.
But if you insist that while you don’t believe in multiple lives but still believe in Karma as an expression of how your eternal destiny is based on the overall moral and spiritual results of your actions, I have more bad news for you.
If Christ is God, as He is as a person of the Trinity, there really is only one action – the decision to make Christ your Lord and Savior- that will matter.
While we will all be judged or rewarded in eternity according to our works in some sense, the gospel of Jesus Christ indicates that only those who place their faith in Him will have everlasting life in the kingdom of God.
So believe that God knows your heart and your secret motivations, and that he will reward you or punish you for them to some degree but understand that it is in Christ alone that we can become Children of God and have eternal life with Him.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:
E. What Are Healthy Dating Standards and Boundaries?
Brad and Sheri meet in a Sunday school group and have been dating for a few months. After her husband's death from cancer two years before, Sheri hesitates to engage her emotions for fear of losing another loved one. And with two boys, ages 7 and 10, Sheri guards the hearts of her boys as well as her own. Brad wants to respect her past, her sons, and her emotions, but he also wants to develop a deeper relationship with her. He is unsure how to proceed in a way that helps Sheri put her trust in him so that they might pursue a future together.
Brad and Sheri struggle with boundaries. He respects Sheri's emotional boundaries, but he longs for more openness with her. Sheri, on the other hand, has erected such high and rigid boundaries that a wall encasing her emotions prevents her from drawing closer to Brad and growing in the relationship. Once they can communicate openly, they can begin to balance their boundaries with a bridge to building trust.
Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries, not roadblocks. We all bring our past, our pain, and our passions into relationships. As you pursue a dating relationship, communication is critically important to gain wisdom and guidance....
"Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance." (Proverbs 1:5)
Establish your convictions for dating before you start to date....
- Write down your convictions and post them in a highly visible place.
- Share them with others who will hold you accountable for maintaining them.
- Develop friendships with those who share your moral convictions, rather than with those who pursue sexual relationships.
- Make it a priority to discover the character of the person you are considering dating before letting your heart become vulnerable to needless hurt.
- Avoid dates who gossip about others...soon they'll gossip about you.
- Guard the reputation of those whom you date.
- Practice saying no to others so that you can say yes to God.
"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)
- Relational boundaries enable you to:
- —Stand up for yourself and speak your mind appropriately
- —Feel comfortable in giving honest feedback to others
- —Be firm with others in a loving and gentle way
- —Respect the rules of others and act in their best interest
- —Express the rules you have established for your relationships
- —Defend others and promote equality in relationships God summarizes the framework of boundaries in His Word....
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)
- Emotional and mental boundaries equip you to:
- —Evaluate the appropriateness of your emotions in light of God's Word and deal with them accordingly
- —Investigate truth for yourself and disengage from those who try to manipulate or hurt you and whose ideas and values are contrary to your own
- —Guard against letting emotions rule you by focusing your mind on God's thoughts and on His character
- —Keep your emotions governed by God's truths and His perspective on events in your life
- —Experience natural human emotions and agree or disagree with others without fear or shame
- —Respond emotionally to others and communicate your own thoughts and opinions in a Christlike way
God tells us to submit every one of our thoughts into alignment with the mind of Christ in order to obey Him....
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Moral and ethical boundaries teach you to:
- —Know the difference between right and wrong
- —Appreciate the true value of people
- —Live a life of moral integrity
- —Be the same in public as you are in private
- —Discern the true character of a person
- —Evaluate the right way to think and act toward others God calls us to do only what is right....
"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man." (2 Corinthians 8:21)
- Sexual boundaries empower you to:
- —Determine whether or not you will allow a person to touch you sexually
- —Determine areas of appropriate sexual expression and activity
- —Determine how you will respond in the heat of passionate temptation
- —Determine personal purity that preserves sexual activity for a committed marriage relationship
- —Determine the parameters you will place on your thought life regarding sex
- —Determine what you will allow yourself to watch, listen to, and participate in that is of a sexual nature
God's Word clearly states that these boundaries are not to be violated....
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
- Physical boundaries help you to:
- —Guard against abusive behavior
- —Prevent physical injury to yourself and to others
- —Protect yourself against threat or risk
- —Shield yourself from danger or harm
- —Avoid the appearance of impropriety
- —Maintain a sense of being separate, having your own personal identity God's Word reminds us that our bodies belong to Him....
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Question: "What role do boundaries play in relationships, and just how important is it to establish boundaries?"
Answer: People with healthy boundaries understand the reality of our unique individuality and our need for mutually beneficial separateness. They accept that we are separate from one another and yet we live with one another. We are individually responsible before God and yet God holds us responsible for how we treat one another.
Although we are separate individuals, God made us to be in relationship with each other. The means by which we successfully do this is by setting and maintaining boundaries. People who have appropriate boundaries have healthy relationships because...
- They recognize healthy boundaries that are...
- —Modeled in their families
- —Developed in their close relationships
- —Rooted in God's perfect will for them
- They understand that healthy boundaries provide...
- —Safety, security, and confidence in who they are
- —The ability to say no to others without guilt or fear
- —"Fences" to protect them, not to keep them away from one another
Healthy people have healthy boundaries. With them, we can juggle the two opposites of separateness and togetherness by creating and maintaining balance in our relationships. We do that by keeping God in His proper place and people in their proper place. God comes first and people come second....
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-39)
Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.
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